What is the smallest flying bridge motoryacht that can keep up with smaller express cruisers, have the heft to carry a small army of guests, and be able to comfortably cruise a family in the Mediterranean and Caribbean? Certainly the Princess 52 falls into that class. So we tested her, and inspected her from stem to stern to see how exactly how she could fulfill those demanding missions.
Walnut satin for wood interior
Sliding electric berth in starboard stateroom
Custom sideboard with freezer and bottle storage
Set of china, cutlery and glasses for 6
22'' LED TV with radio AM/FM stereo DVD player
Garmin VHF300 handset VHF radio
Princess 52 (2014-) Specifications
53' 8'' 16.36 m
54,200 lbs. 24,585 kg
15' 7'' 4.75 m
59,515 lbs. 26,996 kg
4' 1'' 1.24 m
634 gal. 2,310 L
160 gal. 606 L
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
The new Princess 52 is a motoryacht designed for entertaining a large group of people both at the dock and underway. The boat can seat over 30 adults on two decks for a cocktail party. Her flying bridge is intended to be an observation deck as well as an entertaining deck and she can seat 18 people in three venues for a sit-down dinner party.
The Princess 52 has three staterooms and is powered by twin 800-hp MAN engines and she holds some surprises.
●Massive seating for entertaining
●Aft galley (the first time Princess has ever done it)
●Unobstructed view through salon windows
●Aft deck door on hinges and slides
On the main deck there are three inviting entertainment venues on the Princess 52 -- (1) aft deck; (2) galley/bar; (3) salon. There is even a fourth place on the foredeck for sun worshipers.
Her Entertaining Venues
Let's start with her galley bar because that will probably be the most visited spot on the boat. Like a lot of things on this boat her galley serves double duty. Princess has placed it aft on the main deck so that it is central to both the large dining table in the salon as well as close to the al fresco dining table on the aft deck. To port is a sideboard that can be used to place plates of hors d'oeuvres, an ice bucket with a chilling bottle of champagne or white wine.
Across the dark Wenge wood deck on the starboard side is galley proper fronted by a counter that can serve as a bar. It has a raised thick glass counter surface that makes an ideal place to serve mixed drinks. Stools could even be placed here. This is also the place where the catered finger food will be heated up or plated. There is a microwave/convection oven for just that purpose.
The aft galley has been well-designed for large parties. (A) The sideboard for a tray of hors d'oeuvres, a bucket chilling the bubbly, and champagne flutes and other stemware. (B) Because the starboard panel of the aft door is hinged and has swing out access, it is possible to enter the bar from the aft deck as well as from the interior. The galley is large enough for a bartender (C) and the chef (D) or steward/stewardess to heat the food and deliver it.
The Galley. The galley is actually more than just the area behind the bar, because much of it is under the sideboard to port. The galley counter is made of Aztec Brown Avonite which looks like granite but is a lot more durable on a boat. There is a cutting board that goes over the single sink and the three-burner cooktop is glass.
Counter Space. Altogether, the counter area, counting the bar, there is over 23 square feet for food prep. Add in the sideboard on the port side of the galley and there is even more space. That is a lot of galley work space on a 52' boat.
In the galley proper there is a below-counter 6 cu. ft. refrigerator with provision for a freezer, a microwave/convection oven, a cabinet dedicated to pots and pans, another with three drawers for flatware and other utensils, and a third cabinet for dry goods, jars and cans. There is room under the microwave for a drawer dishwasher.
On the outboard side of the galley are three drawers and a locker for flatware, utensils and storage for other items. Immediately to the left is a large cabinet for dry goods and condiments.
A teak cutting board and the glass top range both provide smooth solid surfaces that help create the 23-sq. ft. of counter space for food prep.
Walnut Joiner Work. The cabinetry in the galley and all over the boat is optional satin finished walnut. Oak and cherry, with either satin or high gloss finish come standard. We like the dark-colored walnut because it is elegant-looking wood on a yacht of this stature. Virtually all bulkheads, doors, and interior paneling are made of satin walnut which gives the boat a rich, dignified appearance.
Anyone who has visited large motoryachts, megayachts and even superyachts will immediately recognize that satin walnut is the preferred wood on these multi-million dollar yachts.
Decking. Attractive African Wenge wood, that goes with most anything, and is easy to keep looking clean, is used on the galley deck as well as on the space from the galley to the sideboard. This treatment defines the galley space, is practical and has an upscale look.
Wenge decking in the galley and salon foyer serves a number of purposes all at once. First, it is an elegant way for guests to enter the motoryacht signaling a tasteful approach to the interior décor. Second, it blends well with the dark walnut paneling and looks shippy. Third, it is easy to keep clean.
Sideboard and "Cupboard"
Across the aisle to the port side of the galley area is a good-sized sideboard that has an Aztec Brown Avonite solid surface just like the galley proper. Below it are three cabinets -- one for the freezer, one for the icemaker and one for bottle storage. These spaces can be mixed and matched to suit any owner's preferences. For example, instead of the bottle storage, some owner might prefer a wine cooler, or want a second refrigerator.
Cupboard. Forward and adjacent to the sideboard are two drawers that we will call the yacht's "cupboard”. They are located under the raised dinette seating in the salon. It is here that dedicated space has been created for the vessel's stemware and crockery. Princess place settings for six come standard.
The Avonite sideboard is over a large console that can be used for all sorts of things. During parties it is an ideal place for trays of finger food or an ice bucket for wine or a bottle of champagne.
Aboard our test boat there was a three-drawer freezer, and to the right, an icemaker.
This drawer was made for liquor bottles for a fully-stocked bar, but a wine cooler could also be put under the counter.
Dedicated cut-outs have been inserted for high-ball and wine glasses to keep them safe in a seaway.
Princess provides China place settings for six with its logo on each item and log with a secure place for everything.
Looking forward in the Princess 52 Flybridge main salon. Visibility outside from all locations is noteworthy. The optional swinging table is shown.
Major Details. Up two steps going forward is the expansive salon with two sofas facing each other making a wonderful conversation area. To port is one of the largest U-shaped dining areas we have ever seen on this size boat. All of the seating is made of Ultraleather. Both port and starboard are huge windows with horizontal mullions for strength and style, giving everyone a great view.
Amenities. An optional table lowers and swivels out into the center of the salon making a remarkable cocktail table. Opposite is a sofa that seats three and is a piece of free-standing furniture. Behind it is a flatscreen TV that rises at the push of a button from within a walnut cabinet.
The optional dining table swivels and lowers to make a large cocktail table as well as to be a support if the dinette is turned into a bed in a pinch.
Versatile Table. As can be seen in the images here, the dinette is large and finely finished. Like virtually everything else on the boat there are several options, and this table is no exception. We like the optional base which allows it to swing around and lower forming a large cocktail table that is easy to get around and which can also be used by guests sitting in both sofas.
Princess Yachts America says that consumers can choose from a myriad of materials and colors, virtually all upholstery, carpet, window treatments, and wood work.
The salon dining table is large and the seating is spacious for six adults and more guests will be tempted to squeeze in here.
To starboard Captain Steve demonstrates the size of the free-standing sofa which can seat three. Behind his right hand a counter lifts up to make way for an automatically rising flatscreen TV. Again, notice the large windows; an expansive visibility for guests.
The boat's galley design serves double-duty as a bar during parties.
The bar can even be accessed from the aft deck. Note the standard teak treads on the stairs to the flying bridge.
The doors to the aft deck on the Princess 52 Flybridge are framed with polished stainless steel and are unusual as two panels slide to port and one hinges open to starboard.
Sliding the aft doors open to port…
…and swinging the "bar" door open to starboard. The result is a large opening for good traffic flow during parties.
The aft deck is accessed port and starboard by stairs from the swim platform. The teak table is standard. The upholstery on the seats is Movida Met which is coated with PVC for outdoor durability. The aft teak deck blue courtesy lights are standard.
The teak table is bi-fold to make getting behind it easy. Pull up two folding chairs at the table that seats six.
(A) Note that the brow of the instrument panel protrudes only a few inches above the dash which maximizes visibility. (B) The chartplotter/nav screen is in front of the navigator. (C) There is a built-in foot rest for both skipper and companion. (D) The bow thruster is to the left so the driver can handle the throttles and thruster at the same time. (E) The joystick is in the proper position next to the throttle and gears. (F) The throttle and gears are digital, insuring accurate and precise control. This helm is intended to be used with the skipper seated, not standing.
Captain Steve has good sightlines above and below unobstructed by either the flying bridge cowling above or a raised instrument panel below.
The side window by the helm electrically goes up and down making backing into a slip easy from the lower helm. There is also an electric window on the port side. These two opening windows let in lots of air when underway.
Underway the captain and co-pilot have good visibility from the lower helm.
The helmsman and the admiral appear to be enjoying the view from the lower helm on what was a nippy day outside.
Flying Bridge and Observation Deck
Maximized seating on the flying bridge was the goal of Princess and by our count no fewer than 13 people can easily sit up here. Add two folding chairs on the inboard side of the table and it is 15.
Max Seating. We can't think of a flying bridge in class that has more seating than the Princess 52 Fly. It is almost as if she was designed to hold the Royal Yacht Squadron's entire race committee for the Cowes Week Regatta with 800 sailboats participating -- or perhaps the next America's Cup in San Francisco Bay. No fewer than nine people can sit around the huge, standard teak table aft.
This is why we call the Princess 52’s flying bridge the perfect observation deck for a large group. No few than nine adults can sit around this standard teak table for enjoying the view.
Moving forward, our Associate Editor, Erin Coriell, spies the wet bar to the starboard side of the deck.
The sink with hot and cold water are standard. The electric grill and an icemaker underneath are optional.
The Princess 52 Flybridge comes standard with a fiberglass radar arch, but the hardtop is optional. We like the hardtop because it allows the bridge to be enclosed in isinglass, thus creating a three-season venue on the boat which doubles the enclosed "public" space at very little added cost.
Two or three people can comfortably sit at the settee adjacent to the helm.
The outboard seat can be used as a chaise and a filler cushion creates a sun pad with a chaise back rest.
A deep refrigerated top-loading cooler just to the left of the helm can keep lots of beverages cold during a hot day out on the water.
Test day was nippy off the south coast of New Jersey. Note the cooler just to the left of Captain Steve.
The bow of the boat is visible from the upper helm when both sitting and standing.
Wet Bar. Just abaft the helm is a console for a mini galley that can be optioned out with an icemaker and electric grill. A sink is already installed. A standard cooler is fitted inboard of the companion seat forward, making it handy for those piloting the boat to grab a cold beverage.
The Helm. Princess has thoughtfully placed a companion seat next to the helm seat and adjacent there is room for two to comfortably sit to port and chat with the skipper and navigator. There is a filler cushion for this position and the seats convert to a sun pad and chaise lounge for two.
(A) A sofa on the port side of the full-beam master stateroom. (B) A dresser with six wide, deep drawers. (C) Companionway down to the accommodations deck and passageway to the master stateroom.
The Master Stateroom. The Princess 52 Fly is a three stateroom, two head boat. The master stateroom is directly below the salon and is full beam. Whereas some boats this size have the head as part of the full-beam area with the sleeping cabin, Princess has pushed the head forward. By doing so, the owners' stateroom is filled with light and has sensational views out of its large port and starboard windows. It also provides room for a dresser with six drawers to starboard and a stand-alone sofa to port.
The king-sized master bed runs fore and aft. Note the dresser with six drawers under the large window.
The top of the dresser has a herringbone texture, a design element that Princess uses throughout the boat with great effect.
Above the dresser is a large window with an opening porthole for air. Because of the push-pull resin-infusion method used to build the hull, the window is actually one of the strongest parts of the hull.
The stand-alone sofa to port makes the master stateroom a comfortable retreat from the hurly-burly of activity on the entertainment decks.
The bulkhead behind the headboard is a taupe-colored silk finished material with a raised weave. Owners can have pretty much anything they want when it comes to fabrics.
Captain Steve and Erin measure the headroom and find it to be 6'7" (2.0 m). The overhead itself is covered in premium pale gray material.
The master head has a separate shower stall behind a glass door. The walnut theme is carried on and the deck is Black Marble Avonite with a high gloss finish.
Aboard the Princess 52 Fly the VIP stateroom is in the bow. Note the two stools under the corners of the beds in the bottom of the image.
This clever stool arrangement is set into the corner of the bed and held in place by a strap when underway.
The Princess 52 has two guest staterooms, the VIP in the bow, and a smaller stateroom with two single berths to starboard. Both share the same head which adjoins the VIP.
VIP Stateroom. Virtually all boats in class have a bow stateroom with an island berth. There are four things that we think are particularly noteworthy about this cabin --
1) There are two stools, one under each aft corner of the bed. These are latched down to stay in place while underway. In port they can be used to sit on when getting dressed -- or undressed. These stools can also be used in the salon when the table is down.
2) Over the large, oval, opening portlights port and starboard are cabinets for storing folded garments. There is never enough storage on a boat and by using the bow flare Princess has added quite a bit. Having the cabinetry here also warms up the cabin.
3) Note that the builder has "framed out" the cabins’ two portlights creating a large window effect. With the wooden slates of the shades closed not only is privacy created but the wood also adds to the yacht-like look of the cabin.
4) Princess has built in port and starboard chairs and rail-like counters that are narrow forward and become wider aft. These are covered in rich-looking stitched leather. They are more decorative than functional and enhance the ambiance of the space. There is also a full length mirror which many boats in class neglect.
Guest Stateroom. It is a bit unusual having a third stateroom in a 52' boat, but Princess has managed to squeeze one in. When two couples are cruising together for any length of time, this space will undoubtedly be used for storing bags and gear. When a family is cruising it will be a popular hangout for the kids. It has full standing headroom, a good-sized hanging locker, storage in cabins over the portlights, and the beds can be pushed together for a couple who wants to get cozy.
Crew Cabin. There is a small crew cabin in the stern of the boat with a head. A large window in the transom helps keep this space from becoming too claustrophobic. While this boat really does not need a full-time captain for most owners, occasionally it is pleasant to have a mate along to help wash down the boat, conduct morning checks and perform other chores aboard. This is an ideal place for him. Otherwise the space makes a handy and easily accessible lazarette.
Above each of the portlights are two hatches revealing two small compartments each for folded garments. These are handy when cruising.
The third stateroom has twin beds which can be pushed together if desired. There is full standing headroom between the beds.
The hanging locker in the guest cabin. There is a show cubby at the bottom and a mirror on the outside of the closet door.
A Look in the Engine Room
Captain Steve enters the engine room from the lazarette hatch which is just forward of the table on the aft deck. There is crouching headroom, but easy access to all fluids and daily check points.
Virtually ever hose in the engine room and lazarette is labeled. The hose is one of 10 going to a sea chest for overboard drainage.
Count 'em, 10 drain hoses taking water from the topsides of the boat and directing them to one sea chest which empties at the waterline of the boat. This eliminates block streaks all over the vessel's topsides.
Immediately adjacent to the ladder from the cockpit to the lazarette are the two breaker switches for the bow and stern thrusters.
Captain Steve points out the fuel filters of the bulkhead (B) and the fuel tank shut-off valves on one of the 317 gal. (1,204.6 L) fuel tanks. Headroom in the engine room varies from 4' to 5' (1.21 to 1.52 m).
A close up of the fuel shut off valve on the top of the fuel tank which can be activated from on deck.
(A) The stainless steel strut anchors the exhaust pipe as it comes off of the turbocharger and goes immediately to the muffler.
Specs. The Princess 52 Flybridge has a length overall of 53'8" (16.35 m), a beam of 15'7" (4.75 m), draft of 4'1" (1.24 m), and a dry displacement of 54,200 lbs. (24,585 kgs.). Our test weight with full fuel of 634 U.S. gal. (2,310 L), 160 U.S. gal. (606 L) of water, four people and equipment was 59,515 lbs. (26,996 kgs.) Power was delivered by twin MAN R6 6 cylinder 800-hp engines driving through ZF marine gears with 2:1 reduction with straight shafts to 26.5 x 45 5-blade props. The temperature was 70F with light winds.
WOT Speed. At 2350 rpm we recorded a top speed of 30.7 knots burning 79.6 gph.
Best Cruise. The nautical miles per gallon that we recorded from 2000 rpm to WOT at 2350 was virtually the same which results in the happy circumstance that from 23.5 knots (2000 rpm) to 30.7 knots (2350 rpm) the Princess 52 Fly gets virtually the same nmph -- .38 to .40. At 80% load, the 52 Fly went 25.7 knots, burned 67 gph for .38 nmpg. We would probably run the boat in light chop conditions at about 2000 rpm where she goes 23.5 knots (.39 nmpg) and has a range of 220 nautical miles, with a 10% reserve.
Delivery Speed. When the boat is being delivered or the owner is not in much of a hurry, then 1250 rpms and 10.5 knots is a reasonable pace burning 19.7 gph and giving the boat a range of 300 nmiles with a 10% reserve. See the "Test Results" table for the complete performance story.
The Princess 52 Fly making her way to the Atlantic Ocean on test day.
Two Helms. With two helms it really was hard to decide which was more comfortable to operate from and that’s a huge point, because to us, having to wrap the flying bridge in isinglass would be a shame. Having an equally functional helm with the same high levels of visibility is critical. And it really differentiates this V52 Fly from others that add the lower helm as an afterthought.
At speed we put the 52 into hard turns to discover her angle of lean, her turning radius and the responsiveness of her helm.
When adding power,the bow comes up roughly 15 degrees which still keeps it below the horizon from the lower helm. Once the turbos kick in, then all it took was just a small amount of trim tab to bring the bow down a little more. Don’t go too much or there’ll be a drag and fuel penalty.
Turns are accompanied by a modest 12 degree lean into the turn and she has a wide turning radius at cruise, nearly 6 boat lengths, but that keeps the ride stable and the guests won’t have their sandwiches sliding off the table.
Docking. With her flying bridge, one would expect that she would catch a lot of windage and present a difficulty at the dock. But that just wasn’t the case as she has plenty of weight to offset anything but a hard blow. Use the bow and stern thrusters minimally to control her direction and the mains to control momentum and just glide her gently into the dock. It helps that the thrusters are the new progressive type. Power can now be fluctuated rather than just going on or off. This will make the captain look like a pro even with a crosswind or cross current.
Princess Yachts uses a "push-pull" resin infusion system instead of only using a vacuum to impregnate the glass materials. By using the "push-pull" system Princess feels that it gets a higher glass-to-resin ration therefore greater strength and lighter weight.
Princess Yachts has long had a reputation of being one of the finest builders of large production motoryachts in the world. Its consistent use of the best materials, components, and world-class scantlings have held the company in good stead allowing it to withstand the bumps in the world economy during the last four stormy decades. It has long been the benchmark in Europe for quality motoryacht construction.
This construction process is not only used in the boat's hull as seen in the picture above, but also in the boat's superstructure. Because of this process, Princess is able to laminate in the large side windows that make both it's salon and master stateroom so bright and airy.
Today Princess is a member of the Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) which specializes in brands of distinction in numerous categories of product. With the financial strength of LVMH behind the builder we expect it to remain at the very top of the motoryacht game.
Steady Management. One of the most important reasons for the success of the Princess brand over the years is the depth of experience of its top management. Unlike many companies, Princess has been steered by essentially the same management team for several decades. That has kept the brand focused on long-term success built on the quality of its product, rather than on an expediency of the moment.
Conservative Nature. While both its exterior and interior design and styling tends to be more conservative than some of its southern European peers, we think that its steady approach has held its products in good stead for the long haul. By eschewing flavor-of-the-month styling, its boats seem to stay more in style over time, and therefore hold their value better.
Strong Functionality. Princess builds 9 models of flying bridge motoryachts from 43' to 98' (13.1 to 29.87 m). Given the fact that the 52 Fly is the second smallest model in this Series one can quickly see that even more luxury, room, and performance is available. Yet, functionally-speaking, the Princess 52 Fly is very nearly the same as its bigger siblings, until the 76' range, when greater beam and nearly twice the displacement produce a very different class of yacht.
Princess 52 (2014-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Princess 52 (2014-) is 35.4 mph (57 kph), burning 79.60 gallons per hour (gph) or 301.29 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Princess 52 (2014-) is 27.1 mph (43.6 kph), and the boat gets 0.44 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.19 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 253 miles (407.16 kilometers).
Tested power is 2 x 800-hp MAN R6.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Princess 52 (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Washdown: Fresh Water
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Oil Change System
= Standard = Optional
Princess 52 (2014-) Warranty
Princess 52 (2014-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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